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History of the New York Times

Series/Special. Author Daniel Schwarz discusses the origins of 'The New York Times.' New.

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New York 18, Us 11, Washington 6, Sulzberger 5, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger 4, Rosenthal 4, Pentagon 4, San Francisco 4, Syria 4, Normandy 3, Chicago 3, Mccain 2, Blair 2, Eisenhower 2, Schwarz 2, Cnn 2, Jason Blair 2, Arthur Sulzberger 2, U.s. 2, Panama 2,
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  CSPAN    History of the New York Times    Series/Special. Author Daniel Schwarz  
   discusses the origins of 'The New York Times.' New.  

    January 7, 2013
    1:15 - 2:25am EST  

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into lobbying and campaign contributions. >> let's give a round of applause for lynn. [applause] we have the opportunity for you to purchase and have the book signed. we thank you all for being here. if you have further questions, she will be here signing books, so come and talk to her. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> next, a look of the history and future of "the new york times." after that, a round table on the agenda for the 113th congress. then a discussion of u.s. foreign policy in president obama's second term.
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>> tomorrow, a discussion at that defense spending in u.s. national security with a keynote speech by the pentagon comptroller. the brookings institution host the event on c-span 2. >> what i like about c-span's coverage is they are very thorough. a steady program i want to watch is available. what i enjoy mostly is coverage that you have on the floor, the debates on the floor, as well as the hearings that you cover, the subcommittees and major committee hearings. >> she watches c-span on comcast. c-span -- created by america's cable companies in 1979. brought to you as a public service by your television provider. >> now, a look at the history and future of "the new york times." daniel schwartz discusses his
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latest book, covering the decade from 199 to 2009. this is just over an hour. >> welcome, everyone. thank you so much for being here. it is my honor to serve as a deputy director of the museum of the city of new york. and my greater honor to welcome you here this evening and to thank our speaker, david schwarz, for being here as well. as many of you know, the museum of the city of new york has a wonderful job of investigating and interpreting this city --- its past, its present, and its future, and our job is to explore what makes new york new york. it is appropriate tonight that
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professor schwarz will speak about one of the city's iconic institutions, one that carries not only the news, but new york's own name, its brand, its identity, throughout the world, "the new york times." he will talk about what has been a decade of crisis, a question about whether any newspaper can survive. from my perspective here at the museum, this is a critical question. not only because of the iconic nature of the newspaper, which i just mentioned, but also because their role of the newspaper itself here in our mission of document link the
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city's history. "the times" is the city's newspaper of record, the way in which we document the stories we see here at the museum as we look across this archive and the vast decades of more than a century. it is more than that. the challenge is what to me "the times" and the print industry is facing. one of the things we are committed to documenting, something that is so characteristic of new york, the theme of perpetual transformation of the city. we here at the museum are not ourselves immune from this, and we, as i think about the stories that the professor describes, we ask many of the same questions today about the nature of physical artifacts and the printed word in an
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increasingly virtual world. and so the story of "the new york times" has a broad resonance. professor schwarz has said -- "the worst newspaper in the world, except for all the others." i have a few brief announcements i would like to remind everybody to turn off whenever you might have that might be interrupting the program. as you have noticed, we have copies of the book that is the subject of today's program available for purchase and we will continue to sell them at
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the end of the program. now it is my great pleasure to introduce daniel schwarz, professor at cornell, recipient of numerous awards, including the distinguished teaching award. his poems, short stories, essays, and articles have been published widely, and he has authored several books including "broadway boogie- woogie." he is currently working on a new book entitled "reading the european novel." please join me in welcoming him. >> thank you so much for that generous introduction.
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what i am going to do tonight is talk about "the new york times'" past, present, future, and then we will have questions and comments and bring up anything you wish. in part, "the times" has been the paper of record for a very long time, and we should think about what the paper of record means. sometimes it is called disparagingly that gray lady maybe because it was kind of drab and colorless. what the paper of record means is that it was the repository of the names of the cabinet members of various countries, at least the summary of the major
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bills and decisions from congress and the supreme court, and it was the place people went for the historical record. in fact, "the times" was the day-to-day evolving history of this country, and its role for historians was to tell us what was going on in the country. but the paper of record, as some people noted, could be colorless and drab. let us think about some of the things the paper used to do when i first ordered reading it. number one, if panama changed its cabinet, every single day for a week they would repeat each member's name. if there was one different name, they would do the whole
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thing over and over again. they even on saturday had a column called "incoming and outgoing ships." when people said they read "the times" from cover to cover, when it was a two-section "times" what they met was a scant thing that they had read yesterday. there was a great deal of admiration in the times. -- iteration in "the times." it was the reliable place to go, "all the news that's fit to print." in its heyday, it was a very important part of history. thehe 1940's, let's take normandy invasion in june of 1944, a major historical event, well, most of us did not remember that, but if you think
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about it, could you show the maps of the allies' progress on radio? no. television was invented, you might remember, at the end that of the 1930's, but it was suspended for the war effort. "the times" was the source of how the allies were doing, and i use that as a point of departure in my book. they had full reporters, but the most accurate news wasn't really in the newspaper. the great news reporters like cronkite could do so much. it really was the place where people went for the news. i want to stress something else, because this is a kind a point of departure. at that time, the government and the media were aligned. there was not this assumption we have now.
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there was not fox news, for example, fighting a democratic administration. there was not this gap. it was going to come to that later, but i want you to be aware that the media and the administration was very close at that time. for example, why is "the times" paper of record? people could trust it to tell people what they needed to know, and one reason they could is the president would call in people like major columnists, and the president would tell them what he was planning to do. and the newspaper, sometimes they would say the highest identified source. what we have here is really a kind of mutual relationship, and that is part of its being
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the paper of record. if people did not like what "the times" were printing, they would call them up. it is interesting that even in those days "the times" somewhat that the government control sources. some of what goes on now was going on then, but the thing is there was an alignment of interests that does not happen now. i think it is important to sort of understand what "times" was at to understand that there was not this difference in the country. we were much in a very different world. you have to look back at what "the times" was, we have to a knowledge we lived in a divided country.
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there was a much more vigorous and angry dialogue in politics than there were at this time, that i use as a point of departure, ok? it is interesting, too, that arthur salzberger recruited eisenhower to run for president. what we think about is a point of departure. in my book, i go back even more. even though it is dated from 1998 to 2009, those of you who know it know i go back to the
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bidding is, and i will say a little bit about the beginning sprit the paper that was bought in 1896 by adolph ochs. they did not want it to be too jewish. he bought this paper that were originated in the 1850's, but was a nothing newspaper. there were many in new york, and there's nothing special about "the times." he transformed it into what it is today, a place that people go to to find what is going on. as we're going to see, the newspaper outranged gradually from this time when it was a historic source. one thing we also should point out, and that time we are talking about, the time of the
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normandy invasion, there were not really an obstreperous, negative press. there was the republican paper, "the herald-tribune," but the differences were in degrees and not any kind. people were on minor radio stations. you would not have people like rush limbaugh on a major station. there was a kind of neo-nazi, but these people were not part of the public discourse. that is important to understand. what changed? when it did the discourse become somewhat more angry?
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you can trace that to some extent to mccarthyism in new york, where people were being accused of being communists and being russian sympathizers after the war ended and during the cold war. this could be something that you could attribute to. even then, most people made their peace, and mccarthy backed off, eisenhower did not support him, and we got through that period. does anybody want to guess when the press began to doubt the presidency? it might surprise you, but it is the cuban missile crisis. in those days we did not put everybody's private life in the
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newspaper. even though they did that, still, it was a time when we began to become suspect. that became more and more until the publication of "the pentagon papers." that was a gradual growth come a difference, between the media and "the new york times" and the administration, and that continues until the state. there is an oscillation between the administration and "the times" depending on the administration. that difference opened up cordially there, and it continued to.
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the skepticism to the vietnam war, and watergate, which is mostly a "washington post" story, increased to where gradually we have what we have today, an adversarial right fox, adversarial left msnbc, and cnn, which is trying to be "the new york times," when nobody wants to see anything non- adversarial. "the times" is a two-section newspaper, a term that "the times" does not like anymore. the editor -- when you use in
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it, they get a little bit squeamish. some of you i should probably say, one of my sources -- it took a great deal of reading the, and interviews. "the times" is generous in giving me access, letting the interview them. mostly, i got this through approaching them and asking them, and one led to the other. most of the masthead figures in the 1999 --
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a good many of them and all the executive editors. i never got to interview him. keller -- jill abramson, keller. the book does have a lot of very good source ing. one time when i spoke somebody -- when i said somebody spoke anonymously. i give them a name and attribution. i say that because i think that is very important in american journalism today. one of the embarrassment of the time is they have often printed articles without adequate
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sources. the times is partly under siege because of the number of crises. the crises include accusing someone of being an atomic spy when they did not have sufficient evidence. in other words, they really did not know what they printed. it gary malam -- well maybe this is a compromise figure, but you cannot go around accusing people without having evidence. what else? what are some of the other embarrassments? anybody? jason blair. jason blair printed the story is about what was going on in washington during the crisis. the only problem was he did not go there. he was both inventing things and
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plagiarizing things. that embarrassed "the times" great deal. anybody else remember? the blair situation led to the resignation. it should be said, i it address this with in more detail in the book, if some of his predecessors had been in charge at the time they would not have had to resign. a lot of the staff hated him, so it was used as a fulcrum does anybody else know -- we are talking about now about what undermined "the times" as a doublurepart of it was that their reputation was diminished by several major mistakes. what was the major mistake? >> [inaudible] >> right. judith miller printed stories, anonymous sourcing -- that is where i wanted to put that on
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the table. she never said we're for information was coming from, that there were weapons of mass destruction. of course, hussein, the leader of iraq, encouraged that. it was something like putting up a sign, beware of the dog in your apartment, but there was no dog. there were no methods of mass destruction. but it gave cover to the moderate democrats to vote for war. in some ways, "the times" bear some responsibility. that was a major embarrassment for them. possibly the most important one. because no one ever knew where this came from. it turned out the person was once a figure in the iraqi government, but the trouble is, it was not true. if i point to somebody and say
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this person has a contagious disease, we all have to leave the room, i should know what i'm talking about, right? this is an example of a major problem. this diminished the prestige of "the times," and there are the things we could mention also. they had knowledge in 2004 of government wiretapping of private citizens. the government said, do not release that. by not releasing it, is helped george w. bush get reelected. these are important things that happened. i talk about each of these incidents and this is what i mean by crisis in turmoil. these are really important issues, and gradually, they lower the temperature of the newspaper's credibility. does anyone else remember
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others? there was this notion -- they released this story -- that john mccain was having a relationship with a woman. they had heard in a very sexually provocative dress on the on-line edition, and a dress her up for the next one. this woman was a kind of lobbyist, but there was nothing in there that never proved that mccain was compromised. if mccain had a relationship with this woman, it was between him and his wife, and there was nothing -- he had not touched on anything that was politically important. they sort of backed away from that.
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it just lowered the temperature, again, of what we might call their bodily communication wait -- weight. there are other cases, the duke across scandal was another embarrassment. -- lacrosse scandal was another embarrassment. they did not cover themselves in glory, but the woman who claimed to be rich was not raped. it goes on like this. they also had a story about why caroline kennedy did not get the nomination, and that is when they also mentioned that she did not pay her taxes or something, but nobody put any records down a unattributed sources to back this up. this was a problem for "the times." let's go back a little further
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back in time to when they gained credibility. the publication of the pentagon papers was a very important events, not only for "the times," but for the first amendment. they really risked going to jail. the publisher at that time was arthur. maybe we need a brief review course. it is hard. it is like sesame street when everyone is named oscar. how do you keep them apart? a brief family history. ochs was succeeded by his son- in-law who was named arthur ochs sulzberger. then there was another son named dreyfus who succeeded from 1951 until 1961 -- excuse me, 1961 until 1963.
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he was succeeded by another sulzberger, the son of arthur hays sulzberger, known as arthur ochs sulzberger. now we have arthur sulzberger jr.. this is not easy. there will be a quiz at the end of the elections. so, the sulzberger's basically own the newspaper, or the family. we will come to that in a minute. if you guys want to sit down, there are plenty of seats here. so we are talking about the sulzberger's, and they own a newspaper, and went on to be a public newspaper under arthur
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ochs sulzberger, who recently died. that became not a privately- owned company but a public company. this is interesting because it is now a public company. one of the things people are wondering is why, if "the times" is having a financial crisis -- which is my next subheading -- how can they survive? the answer is, how can "the times" survive? we will talk about that. maybe we can talk about it now. will they survive as they now exist, can it, financially? "the times" is in great trouble in a chilly. -- financially. the sulzberger's made a lot of money when they went public. they bought up a lot of properties, they have the discovery channel for a while, and at the time of optimism they built an enormous building
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which they own for a short amount of time and now they lease it, sold back. so "the times" is having a great deal of trouble. why? the world is different. as a news source, they compete with the internet. you say, well, they are 24-hour internet, and this is true, but there is one big problem. for every $25 lost in print advertising, $1 comes back in internet advertising. this is not good for the newspaper industry. "the times" can not really replace this revenue, as hard as they have tried. why is that?
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it turns out, print advertising is more expensive. if we can buy internet advertising cheap, because the market is different -- it used to be "the times" lived on full-page ads, double page ads, from all the department stores, the very ones that were lit on fifth avenue and are now obsolete. they do not exist anymore. of course, people do not want to do this anymore, pay those ads. and car companies, not just the general motors, but their subdivisions would take a page ads. that is not being replaced. i have talked to a lot of people about this and there is not really one answer. for a while, they would produce these wonderful, optimistic reports and they would say
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things like internet advertising is up 40% and print advertising is down 2%. well, you do not need to be a mathematical genius to know if something brings in $100 is up 40% and something that brings in $10 million is down 2% you are in trouble. they cannot replace this revenue. i can go into this further in the questions period, if someone wants to know why who will can make money and the times cannot. part of it is that google is a consolidator. they get $10 for the ads and then they pay "the times" for us. basically, a lot of money being lost. basically, internet advertising is cheap. this is the big problem, will "the times" survive? that is the present question. one thing we should also say,
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because it is part of the puzzle, when "the times" went public, all of us bought shares. you may not know that, but your pension fund may have some shares. all of these shares that everyone owns, there is actually a capitalization of 144 million shares. all of those 144 million shares get to approximately five members of the board of directors. the numbers vary but the precautions are the same. who looks the other eight? -- elects the other eigh? that is the b shares. those are owned by the family trust, yes. they own the b shares. now the question is, will "the times" go the way of "the wall street journal" and go bankrupt? it used to be thought that it was impossible because the
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family trust has done well. andes are up in the 50's people were making money hand over fist, except what happened, the stock price plummeted and dividends have been suspended for many years now. what happens? will the family sell? we do not really know. the family is now not just the sulzbergerger's. we are talking about five generations and cousins. over 500 people are involved, or a large number. one book discusses this. it is possible of these people will start to quarrel and will sell because some of them may need the money. they are not all wealthy people. this is sort of the problem "the times" has. i want to go back in time in
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history. "the times" had a prior crisis. sometimes the people at "the times" say that we had a major crisis in the 1970's but we overcame it. every institution has its own story in mythology. the mythology is that "the times"is impervious, to some extent. i interviewed arthur sulzberger, and it was sort of in the dark, he could not imagine what was happening. in the 1970's, there was a major newspaper strike. during a major strike, when the paper does not print for months and months, how much advertising revenue comes in? what is the answer? exactly zero. so, they were in trouble financially.
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and what also happens, people get used to advertising elsewhere, on radio, television, billboards. so what happened, an editor by the name of abe rosenthal, and with sulzbergerger's support -- we are now talking about arthur ochs sulzberger. he said, let's make it four sections. that changed "the times" to an extent. it became much more of a magazine. "the times" that you read, monday, sports, wednesday, science, dining, thursday, home and style, friday, arts,
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saturday -- in new york, you get a special sports section, but the rest of the country does not. so what happens? "the times" did very well, in part, because of advertising. we are now in the period of the vietnam war. a lot of advertisers did not want to be on the same page as the vietcong, blood, gore. that is why we started with the normandy invasion. then it was kind to be on the same page because it was us against them. but here we have us against them and us against us. so these special sections that was a great advertising boom, they were short on content sometimes. in my book i used the term "the times" light. what happens, they would dummy down these sections.
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if you read the sections, sometimes you know, they are extremely prolific, and they have no point. there are some strong articles on alzheimer's and things like that, but there is also some stuff there that is a really soft. but this helped "the times" immeasurably. helped contribute to prosperity. rosendahl, he was an iconic editor. first of all -- well, for three reasons. i will say a bit about rosenthal. the three reasons are, first, the pentagon papers. even though he was actually conservative -- he came from a montreal immigrant jewish family, the first jewish editor. i talk about the jewish stop quite a bit in the book because the sulzberger's were the most
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this assimilated jews, under play the holocaust, and talk about that. -- and apologized for that in the 1980's. rosenthal -- pentagon papers -- four sections. does anyone know what else he did? he really changed "the times" to a much more dramatic, lively newspaper. when you take a journalism class is, you were told about the who, what, where, when, and how. the who was elevated by something called the new journalism. dramatic in nature, quotes from people telling us the who, what people were about, letting us know their motives, letting them talk to reveal their psyche. rosenthal was a proponent of this, and he brought liveliness
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and action to "the new york times." that is why i kind of began with -- let's all fall asleep, 21 members of the panama cabinet. rosenthal changed that. he had a major affect on the newspaper. because it was an iconic newspaper, it trickle down to others. in other words, the who had previously been much more in tabloids, but he brought it to life. the who, sometimes, we think as overemphasized. sometimes you think if an atomic bomb, or if we had a nuclear accident in manhattan, the first store would be about the guy walking out of the subway hit by the bomb. we would hear about some bad men
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and not realize that trillions had been wiped out. sometimes the who becomes comic when there are major news stories anything they sometimes have the upside down. well, now i want to talk a lot of that -- a little bit about the future of "the times." as some of you know, because you have seen me teach, i walk around a lot. today i am standing still because c-span asked me to. i am at my wandering around stage right now, but i will sit still. the future of "the times" is our next subject. what can happen to "the times?" can they survive? they have cut their staff from 1450 to about 1100. they are the last man standing.
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"the washington post" has cut its staff almost in half. "the times" is probably going to be the last surviving print paper, we do not know when. maybe "the wall street journal" will reveal itself as a full- fledged newspaper, as they promise, but it has not done yet. so what does "the times" do? what do we see them doing now with those 1100 people? this is why i say they are the worst newspaper in the world, except for all the others. what do they do that is good? analysis. there is a great deal of difference between riding in tents, smart analysis, not only on the op-ed page, but on situations, political situations, for example. there is a great deal of
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difference between that kind of analysis and when you see in some of the local papers. they have very trained analysis. in fact, they are particularly strong on foreign affairs. "the times" has 26 bureaus. no other newspaper in this country even comes close to that. 26 police tapped news bureaus, foreign news bureaus, and they do very well in this. you may see anderson cooper on the tarmac. that is not foreign news. "the times" is in places like iraq, syria, pakistan, afghanistan. they have embedded people that have knowledge of languages, they have saved houses, translators, armored cars in some cases, bodyguards, and even when they send people into a place like syria, their own
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medical personnel. they are really the only paper that does for news at that level, or close. "the washington post" has often had this polite idea that all they have to do for for news is it to the ambassadors in washington or go to the u.n. they are going to do the washington news, right? the beltway. but they do not do for news, and they are historic we probably the second best paper in the country. one of the ways, if they survive, ultimately, the people who steal their foreign news will have to pay for it. none of the major networks are doing foreign news at this level. although, i did want to say something to be fair. last night, cnn had people in
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syria. that was the most impressive thing that i have seen outside of "the new york times" in a very long time. they had somebody in the north of syria, and that was impressive, but still not what we are talking about, all over the world. if it were not for "the times" there would have been nobody to report on things going on in zimbabwe. do you think cnn are going to send people to zimbabwe? so foreign news they do. analysis, particularly for an analysis is what they secondly do. they still do what they called enterprise journalism, which is what we would call investigatory journalism. for those of us that live in new york state, which i suspect is almost all of us, what does that mean? it means they find out things that people do not want found out. for example, 100% of the
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conductors on the long island rail road are getting disability. that is a pretty high percentage. we have about 28 or 30 people here, this is ridiculous. but they did, they found out there were some doctors and insurance companies that were rigging this, they followed them around, found them on the tennis courts, running marathons and triathlon's. these were not the most disabled people. this is something that "the times" will do. they will assign three or four people to a story. i was interviewed these people as late as 2010. they have not stopped that. they are willing to do that, no other paper is willing to do that. that is one thing that they do.
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another thing that they do, which is important selling newspaper, of value added journalism. we actually talked about that already appeared that is what is in dining, and the arts, science times, style. basically, telling you how to live. when it becomes cultural criticism, it is telling you what opera to go to, or whether "the nutcracker" is good. it turns out, we know from surveys, people read a great deal more about health than they used to. people are reading the newspaper to find out how to take care of your elderly parents, what happened with your foot falls asleep, what if you
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go to a place that is 15,000 feet high. you better take some pills because somebody may drop dead. people are reading more for that. that is what they call the value added journalism. i call and how to live journalism. the one thing that "the times"has done with these sections is to sell something other than the record. in the old two-section times, they would have one page a week that they would call the four f's. fashion, flowers, a furniture -- something like that. one page a week. now think about "the times." entirely different. the other thing that they are doing better, cultural criticism. i talked about this with one member of the audience. cultural criticism used to be what might be called high culture in new york. now it is every kind of culture. they do hip-hop, ethnic culture, things like that. one of my sons interested in
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music says that he will read rolling stone but not "the times" and is wasting his time. they are trying to be the business news of "the wall street journal," the sports section of "the new york post," the mcnewspaper -- "usa today." so can "the times" survive? they are trying all of these things but we also have to see that they are continually reinventing their internet presence. when they first started the internet site, it was the caboose. now that is the engine. they have many more things on the site than they have on the paper. of course, when they sell the subscription to the paper, they sell access to the internet site. otherwise, you have to buy extra.
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but that is only in the last couple of years that they started to sell it. what else goes up is wages go up. and even if you cut people and wages go up, you come out the same. they have pension responsibility. so it's very difficult to know if it can be sustained. and i talk a little bit about this in my book about what are possibilities? well, the first possibility is print paper continues as it is. but we know and the financial reports aren't good. they are basically not doing very well. for example, some of you may remember when the facebook stock came out, it was a disaster, right. it went way down and people are saying this is terrible. well, the facebook stock is now at 27. and the capitalization, is the stock price times the number of
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shares. the stock price today of "the times" is 8. so the worst of "the times" is about a billion. the worst of facebook even though the stock rallied and dropped a little bit is 60 billion. so basically, the financial markets is saying facebook which has yet to find a product to sell is six times this newspaper we've been talking about and i wrote 470 pages on. i think it would be hard to write 470 pages about facebook. but this shows you where the market is. and it also says something else.
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could "the times" be sold if the trust was willing? and the answer is of course. a billion dollars to buffet, to bloomberg, not a lot. they'd burn the place down before they sell it to murdock whom they hate. so it's possible. we just talked about the two extremes, extreme one, paper continues. the internet site continues but the paper is still drawing in more revenue. so the paper continues. other thing paper gets sold. but there are a lot of middle things that might happen. what are they? one thing they could do is publish a smaller newspaper. we know a few things about readership.
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one is people read newspapers less than they used to. young people read newspapers he has than older people. third thing we know is both young and older people spend less time reading newspapers online than they used to read print newspapers. they are three overlapping prop significances. i've suggested maybe a shorter paper. on the model perhaps of "the economist" but a daily paper. then what they call back of the book stuff which is what all
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these special sections are. what happens? well, possibilities are it could be a separate magazine each day or an online magazine you have to pay extra for or a weekly magazine but it might be something that is supportable. what else could happen? >> well, "the times" instead of selling to somebody could become a national trust. the monitor is owned by a trust foundation. it's always been a pretty good newspaper and maybe the model of p bs has occurred to people. there are problems with that because p bs is supported by a lot of companies and everyone wants to have their own point of view. if you have a to the left paper, you have right wing things there, so it's a problem. but we don't want to lose "the times" culturally. one of the things they are trying to do is become much more of a national paper.
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half of their readership is outside of new york. so that too is a possibility. another thing that they can do is localize the paper, have pages in every major city which speak to the cultural events there and which speaks to the sports there, the weather there. and they've done that a little bit. there is now a san francisco edition, a chicago edition -- no, there is a san francisco, bay area, the chicago is still in the works. san francisco, bay area and texas actually. so -- that's not right. i said that wrong. san francisco, chicago and one in texas. they are localizing it and they can localize it in many other places.
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they could do in atlanta and miami. those of you who read the i.h.. the know sometimes it is localized. so "the times" is trying to survive and there are many ways it might survive. they issue of course extremely optimistic financial reports it will get better and it will get better. around that leads me to my final sentence which is to quote lord northcliffe who owned "the london times" and "the daily mail". and he said "somewhere someone is trying to suppress the real story, the rest is advertising"" and what i tried to do in my book was separate the real story from advertising. thank you. [applause]
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>> we are going to have a q&a and the c-span person is going to walk around with that instead of me and he wants to catch you, so don't start talking until he gets there. so if you want to be on c-span, raise your hand. would anybody like to ask me a question or talk about something? oh, come on. does anyone want to say something? >> go ahead. >> i've read that i guess maybe it's common knowledge that when rupert murdoch purchased the "wall street journal" he was trying to take away circulation on "the times" and he was introducing that greater new york section.
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do you know if he's been successful with that? >> i think he's been moderately successful. he has a great amount of financial resources and he's pouring them in. i don't think he's in any way met the goal of being a national newspaper on the level of ""the times". i think clearly he had some setbacks in england for his stature which has undermined the regard in which he's held. but certainly, that picks up some readership for him and he's moved into more sports criticism. he's made that effort and maybe more is forthcoming. and he has his pay wall too, so
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we'll just see. i think so far, i would not say that he's made it into a rival of ""the times." and certainly, he's not doing the foreign coverage they've done or the investigatory journalism. it's still a business newspaper, i think. and "the times" has stepped on his toes too. they hired as their business editor one of the senior people. so he's really made a more business friendly newspaper. some of it, of course, is now online but there is a great deal of more business coverage than there used to be. although some of it is times light and stories of executives lifestyles. anyone else? >> do you think the acquisition spree of other newspapers which is "the boston globe" not only diluted the reputation of the "new york times?"
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>> that's a good question. that's a two part question. obviously, from a business sense, i think they paid something like $2.5 billion for "the globe" and they can't get rid of it. clearly from a financial standpoint "the globe" has been a financial standpoint. from an editorial standpoint. they owned a lot of regional small papers. if you own a paper that takes a point of view that is not a part of "the times", does that embarrass them? i don't know. they own the st. petersburg
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paper. i don't know that there was any paper that was absolutely embarrassed them with views that they would have found revolting. and i don't think in those days, it may be different now when they own these smaller newspapers. i think "the globe" was the one they were most worried about. it's a left center paper anyway. the editor was hired to be editor at the "washington post"" one of the things that one has to do and i have to do is to keep up. that's sort of the challenge. some of my books were about dead people and it all stopped. i wrote books on joyce and
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conrad but this continues every day. people want me to blog and i have to just keep at it all the time. anybody else? >> this is one of the students that worked on this project with me. you did one of the last interviews with me which were reinterviews. >> i had the joy of transcribing two hours of that. through interviews, have you learned of any action "the new york times" have taken to remedy issues they've had in the past? >> that's a very, very good question.
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and, in fact, the public editor which i talk about quite a bit, keller brought a certain amount of sanity to the newspaper after the blair rain stuff. so they issued some rules about how there would be only anonymous sourcing in emergencies. they have not adhered to that. i have seen anonymous sourcing on the real estate page and even a sports article. they tried. but the public editor is kind of an ombudsman. some of the public editors are better than others. we're on our fifth public editor. the fifth public editor for the
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first time is a woman. and i actually did a thing for huffington which likes me to blog for them when anything happens, ms. sullivan. but the public editors, daniel okrent was an independent. i think frankly was the best public editor, dan. he was pretty critical. i didn't all the agree with him and he had his kind of quirks like everybody else does and he couldn't stand klugman, who i think is quiet good. and then gentle barney very rarely raised his voice so they liked him. and i was pretty -- kind of critical of him. he's a very nice man but didn't
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push them. then the next person was craig, who i thought was quite good. then they had arthur brisbane who didn't finish his term and didn't have much to say. but i think really what we need in the public editor frankly, and i have said this in print, not in the book, but they need kind of a somewhat transgressive feisty public editor who calls them to account. for example, their financial reports, i've talked about that, are often semi-bogus. they are on the mystic and were issuing reports that weren't true. if they issue reports ten years in a row that are overly optimistic somebody should call them on this. they just write stories about themselves. but i think we could have a little bit of a -- they should be called to account on lots of things. they should be called to account on their financial reports. and people should be hard with them because they are supposed to be the representative of the reader. to some extent but i think of myself as the ombudsman's ombudsman. the first attitude was how in the world could some professor come here and try to tell "the times" how to do their business. everything i wrote i transcribed everything. what you don't know is somebody called me and said how could
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you possible say that i said this. i said do you want to see the transcript? because they didn't like what they said. i had all these things transcribed and on tape in case the transcript was wrong. >> just curious what prompted you or what inspired you to write the book -- inspired you to write the book? >> the truth is when i took this project on, i had no business writing this book because i lacked three things i needed. one was access, didn't have that. two was any knowledge of how internetworked at a technical level and how "the times" was going to do this. and they were still figuring it
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out by the way. and three, i didn't know what a business model looked like in this industry. it was hard. i've written quite a few books and this was certainly the most difficult. and i started very naively really but i got some help and learned from people who knew more than i did about things i didn't know much about. one interview led to another and it came out -- nothing is perfect and every once in a while i see a typo or a sentence i wish was better and hopefully will be better if we do a paper. but i'm pretty proud of the book. i tend to be a little bit of -- thinking i can do something when i probably can't. and after a while it came together in a pretty good way i would say. but it took a lot of work. it's the hardest book i've ever wrote and i've written 15 or so. anyone else. let me say thank you very much
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for coming and thank you c-span. \[applause] >> thank you all. such an important part of our city, our nation and world really and thank you for helping us consider past present and future. we hope you come back to the city of new york. thank for coming out tonight. >> anybody who wants, i'll sign a there.f the book back >> next, a political roundtable on the agenda for the 113th congress. after that, a former examines the use of drums and cyber attacks in warfare. >> tomorrow night, supporters of the occupied movement discuss the future of it.
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ethics and business, opportunities for women, and youth unemployment. eric schmidt analyze the impact of technology. tomorrow night beginning at 8:00 p.m. on c-span. >> i think cyber security remains the top priority because of its national security implications. they remain very far apart and very opposed to any sort of cyber security. >> another big issue is going to be implementing the incentives. the fcc has its sleeves rolled up. some of the hot-button issues on that are on a spectrum that powers wifi